What’s your Plan? The 2012 Elections are thankfully over. Astounding negative-ad spend dollars to get what: Obama, Reid, Boehner, the Fiscal Cliff and Part II of ObamaCare? Then, add in our global, borrow-printed-money-to-consume, debt meltdown to yield a challenging 2013!

What is your Plan?


·          Ambitious forecasting! Wishful thinking isn’t a strategy.
How will you fill the strategic-innovation-play gap?

·          Tough budgets to squeeze other stakeholders more than you?
 Where is the sustainable upside, trust and synergy? 

·          Product promotions on the same commodities as your competitors?
This will not deliver any unique customer-value or cost-effectiveness advantages.  

·          Target Account programs with the same reps in the same way?
Where is your breakthrough, win-win, value proposition for each customer on a net-profit basis?

·          Tweaking incentive plans to change behaviors?
Most people know what the right, smarter thing to do is - they just can’t do it.
Incentives do “work” with employees continually learning and improving on their own.
How will you teach the rest to: learn how to learn; improve competencies; and then, focus them to strategically earn more?   



1.     Check out Brent Grover’s book - The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors- published by and sold at www.mdm.com. The distributor-oriented content is well worth it.

Brent’s planning process is simple, streamlined, memorable and actionable. And, his owner-operator, distribution-specific questions
will make you squirm. Revise his tough questions to make them your own. Prioritize them and selectively share them with your advisors and management team. Make them sweat about and live into these questions with you!


Brent’s book will help get the team on the same page of issues with less denial. Where will you get the strategic insight kernels (SIKs) that grow into new profits?

SIKs hide in at least two places.


Outside your business: they are at the intersection of the living edges of your channel and what the 4% of the most innovative customers and suppliers are doing with those opportunities. But, industry innovators only want to work with other innovators. Partner credibility to them comes only from your progressive track record. What’s the best way to become a fast-train that everyone else wants to be on and join the “4%”?


Within your business: they are the root causes for why a small percent of your customers and items are super net-profitable or unprofitable.  Do “cost-to-serve models” to get line-item, net-profit information. Then, follow the 8-step journey covered in “Strategic Insight #9” to: “renew your core business” to double sales and quadruple profits.

2.     Is another “Insight” too skimpy? Then, break through the rock of inertia - right now - by spending 15 minutes to cherry-pick and watch a few 4-minute video clips (steps) along the (22+ hours) core-renewal roadmap at this link (an annotated index of 338+ youtube clips): http://www.merrifield.com/YouTube/Overview%201%20to%208.asp.  

3.     Without net-profit analytics to reveal internal SIKs, you will continue to have under-penetrated and over-taxed core customers/items. To leverage super-profitable and unprofitable customers, items and suppliers, you need an array of journey-ware reports. To benchmark whatever you may have been analytically attempting, check out the list of net-profit-development reports you will find at this URL:  http://www.waypointanalytics.com/info/WPbrochure.pdf


4.     If your greed and goodwill are sufficiently aroused after checking out 4 and 5 above, then don’t be shy about requesting a go-to-meeting demo of the Waypoint, web-service, tool shed.

5.     And finally, reserve the dates of March 19-20, 2013 to attend the semi-annual “Advanced Profit Improvement Conference” (APIC) in Phoenix with other innovative, truly ambitious  distributors. Many attendees of this conference past and future are already blazing down the Net-Profit, Core-Renewal-Journey Trail. The 9/12 brochure is at: http://www.apicconference.com/APIC_conference.htm.  


Most distributors have a core intersection of most profitable customers buying most profitable items. This core is vital, but hugely under nourished and under penetrated. Distributors have been too busy pursuing and taking care of money losing customers and items, many of which can be fixed with the right SIKs!  Why ignore your core’s huge upside?

If there was ever a year to rethink strategy, 2013 is it.